The UK government is expected to announce that travellers arriving in England from high-risk coronavirus hotspots will have to spend 10 days in a quarantine hotel, in an effort to ensure people follow self-isolation rules and avoid the spread of new coronavirus variants.
The requirement would apply to arrivals from most of southern Africa and South America, as well as Portugal, reported the BBC. Although direct flights from South Africa, Brazil and Portugal have already been suspended, UK residents are still permitted to return through indirect routes and then self-isolate at home.
Mandatory hotel quarantine as a measure to ensure travellers adhere to lockdown rules has been in place in a number of countries since last March. Many require the travellers to pay the cost of room and board, which usually covers meals, coronavirus tests and daily health checks.
Which other countries use them, and how do they work there?
Australia became one of the first countries to introduce mandatory hotel quarantine for all arrivals at the end of March 2020.
Travellers are told what hotel they will have to go to to quarantine for at least 14 days on the day they arrive by the government. Anyone who refuses to be tested for coronavirus will have to quarantine for up to 24 days, or until they are clear of infection if they test positive.
Designated buses ferry the travellers from the airport to the hotels, where they will be required to stay in their room for the entire quarantine period. Meals are dropped off outside their room doors, but they are allowed to order one delivery meal a day.
According to the Australian government’s National Review of Hotel Quarantine, the fees for hotel quarantine start from AU$3,000 (about £1,693) for an adult, which will be invoiced by the government when the person leaves.
Anyone arriving in New Zealand must quarantine at designated hotels for at least 14 days. This goes up to 28 days if travellers refuse a test.
Travellers must provide a voucher confirming they have been allocated a hotel room before they can book their flight.
Within 24 hours of arrival, travellers will be given a Covid test. Health staff do daily calls to check on their health and wellbeing, and further tests are taken on the third and twelfth day. Travellers are provided with three meals a day, and food and limited alcohol delivery is allowed.
It costs a flat rate of NZ$3,100 (£1,633) per person, NZ$950 (£500) for each additional adult in the room, and NZ$475 (£250) for each child above the age of three.
Anyone travelling to China must first prepare a number of documents, including health declarations and Covid-19 test results, before they even depart for the country.
Once they arrive at the airport, non-residents will be required to stay in a quarantine hotel for 14 days. The hotels are designated by the government and travellers will find out what hotel they will stay at on the day they arrive, similar to Australia.
In the hotels, staff will call visitors at least twice a day to monitor their health and record their temperatures with a thermometer handed out to those quarantining when they arrive.
Meals are provided but some hotels do not allow deliveries of food or alcohol from outside restaurants. The quality and quantity of food provided can also vary quite dramatically.
Quarantine hotel stays can cost between RMB 4,200 and RMB7,000 (£470 and £790).
Hong Kong requires all travellers to enter hotel quarantine for 21 days upon arrival – however, people coming in from China, Macau and Taiwan have a shorter quarantine period of 14 days.
Travellers can choose from a list of designated hotels to quarantine in – which can be found on the government’s website – but must show proof of a room reservation at one of these hotels before they can board their flight. Airlines will refuse to allow travellers to board the flight without a quarantine hotel booking.
Once in Hong Kong, designated buses take the passengers to their hotel, where they will not be allowed to leave their room. They will be tested for coronavirus on the 12th and 19th day of quarantine.
Hotels will provide guests with three meals a day and most allow deliveries of food and other items. The cost of boarding for 21 days ranges from HK10,080 to HK$1,039,500 (£950 to £98,000).
Like most countries, Taiwan requires travellers to produce a negative PCR test issued no more than three days before boarding their flight and upon arrival.
They must then undergo a 14-day quarantine in a hotel, government-owned facilities or student accommodation if travellers cannot guarantee only one person will be in a private home, unless they all flew into the country together.
The government will decide what facility travellers will go to for their quarantine. They are prohibited from leaving their rooms during the quarantine period and will be fined if they violate quarantine guidelines.
This will cost visitors between NTD1000 to NTD20,000 (£26 to £522) per person for a fortnight.
Hotel quarantine in India is at a traveller’s own expense, but there are also government facilities which are paid for by the government available for the quarantine period, which lasts at least seven days.
Staying in a hotel can cost between INR10,500 to INR28,000 (£105 to £280) per person for a week.
Quarantine periods in Indonesia are much shorter, lasting just five days, and must be carried out at a designated hotel.
Visitors must first produce a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure and undergo a PCR test on arrival.
All arrivals must spend 14 days in quarantine at a government-approved hotel, after taking a PCR test at the airport. They will be taken to the hotel via a bus provided by the Coast Guard, or can book a government-approved taxi.
At the hotel, travellers will be taken care of by staff who are suited up with complete personal protective equipment (PPE) and will be provided with three meals a day. They are not allowed to leave their room during the quarantine period.
Passengers can choose which quarantine facility they wish to stay in at their own expense. However, overseas Filipino workers who must quarantine can do so free of charge.
The Singapore government designates travellers to their quarantine hotels, where they must stay for 14 days. In addition to providing a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours before departure, travellers must undergo a Covid test at Changi airpot and another at the end of the quarantine period.
Travellers must apply for hotel quarantine before they arrive in Singapore and will be handed an electric monitoring bracelet or smartwatch to ensure they comply with the quarantine rules. They will be provided with three meals a day.
The cost of quarantine in Singapore is around SG$2,000 (£1,100), as well as a further SG$200 (£110) for each coronavirus test.
A 14-day quarantine in a government-approved hotel is mandatory for anyone arriving in Thailand from overseas.
The designated hotels are offering packages in collaboration with hospitals, which includes private airport transfer, an ambulance to a hospital if necessary, three meals a day, a duty nurse and daily health monitoring.
They cost between 26,500 THB to 600,000 THB (£646 to £14,650).
Arrivals into Qatar must have a coronavirus test at the airport, and have booked a quarantine hotel package before flying.
They will stay at a government-approved hotel for seven days, and must undergo another test on the sixth day. Medical teams are available at the hotels 24/7 and three meals a day are provided.
These packages cost between QAR2,724 and QAR4,016 (£548 to £810) for each person for seven days.